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By Peter Robb

A heritage of India explores the important topics that unify Indian heritage and gives the reader a cosmopolitan and obtainable view of India’s dynamics from precedent days, the Mughal Empire, and the British Raj via post-1947 India. The ebook examines Indian politics, non secular ideals, caste, setting, nationalism, colonialism, and gender, between different concerns. It additionally discusses long term financial improvement, the effect of world alternate, and the origins of rural poverty. Peter Robb’s transparent, fluent narrative explores the interaction among India’s empires, areas of rule, customs, and ideology, and is a perfect start line for people with an curiosity in India’s previous and current.

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Cultivators and their needs are not obviously important in the Upanishads: though these make some references to wealthy men, villages and food-grains, their major rustic images are of cows and forests rather than crops and fields. At some time during this period, however, agriculture came to be regarded as 30 A HI STORY OF INDIA underpinning society. The Buddhist canon clearly reflected the political and economic conditions of the day when it included a myth of cosmic evolution centred on rice cultivation and the management and control of agriculture.

KINGSHIP It used to be supposed that kingly authority was weak in India because priestly authority was strong. This seems to give undue weight to the priestly origin of so many of the sources. Read differently, the sources imply that political power had to be accommodated in the priestly theories. The king’s religious functions were vital – even if not necessary to the performance of ritual, kings had a sacred quality in their persons that was often seasonally and periodically reinforced by ritual, and they had practical importance for Brahmans 36 A HI STORY OF INDIA or other religious orders, especially as the priestly role came to be regarded as properly distinct from the role of the warrior.

The fact that caste status could persist independently of actual occupation and wealth or power led some to believe that it was a solely ritual or ideal system. Others noted that it could adapt itself to changing economic and political standing, leading to the suggestion that it was after all ultimately pragmatic and material, and that there was no unchanging hierarchy of castes. More recently, it has become increasingly common among scholars to deny the very existence, before the nineteenth century, of caste as defined by Dumont.

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